Thursday, August 14, 2008

Bonobo learns the secret of fire

The primatologist Sue Savage-Rumbaugh has been living with bonobos at a facility in Georgia where they are attempting to forge a hybrid human-bonobo culture. Each species learns the language, tools and culture of the other. Among the technologies the bonobos have learned: the fine art of gathering wood & kindling, taking a lighter from Savage-Rumbaugh's pocket, and starting a fire.



The video is long, and also shows the bonobo making stone tools, producing written symbols, and playing pac man. Clearly this ape would be jealous



I got the Savage-Rumbaugh video from Ted, which was recommended to me at the AAPT as a source for short videos for classroom use. You can show about 10 minutes of video and then have a discussion. It isn't like simply turning the class over to the TV screen--you need to be there to help discussion. But it does allow you to bring a different voice into the classroom. And of course, the kids love a light show. I'm going to use this video in the last section of my intro class on animal and machine personhood. I'll probably grab a couple others, too.

Ted itself seems to be one of these expensive, multi-industry retreat/conferences. Sort of like the Renaissance Weekend, but for silicon valley types, rather than Washington power brokers. Since they are techies, though, they give away all their content via the creative commons license. Free ideas for everyone!

6 comments:

Julie Roads said...

Since you are into the bonobos and have kids, I thought you might like to know about this: www.bonobokids.com

Thomas said...

> Ted itself seems to be one of these expensive, multi-industry retreat/conferences. Sort of like the Renaissance Weekend, but for silicon valley types... .

I think you've pretty much got it, although I think the conference is just a conference rather than a retreat/conference, and unlike Ren Weekend I think it's open to anyone who can afford the annual membership fee (which at $6000 ain't cheap, but isn't that far out of line with other tech consortium conference fees), rather than invitation-only

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TED_(conference)

Thomas said...

Oh, wait. I guess it is still invite-only, but you can apply directly:

http://www.ted.com/pages/view/id/72

Weird.

Rob Helpy-Chalk said...

Six thousand clams! I got to go to the AAPT conference for $150.

molly said...

Yeah, plus the $600 hotel bill.

My friend Twisty linked to a nelli mckay in a ted video recently.

Breena Ronan said...

I have been watching TED videos all summer and sometimes linking to them on my blog. The conference may be elitist, but they invite all sorts of amazing people to speak.